Local restaurants see economic boom as college students return to Terre Haute

Local News

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — As many college students are starting to make a return to the Wabash Valley for the new semester, some businesses are beginning to see an economic boom.

The summer months in Terre Haute can lead to slower business for some local restaurants as students leave to go back home. Cackleberries in Terre Haute has seen the value that student customers bring, employee Hannah Toptsi said.

“College students are honestly such a valuable asset to the restaurant and to all of Terre Haute’s local business I think,” she said. “In the summer months we definitely miss the college students. We can totally tell when they’re gone because things are usually a lot quieter on the weekends and not quite as busy.”

The Grand Traverse Pie Company is located in Terre Haute right next to Indiana State University. General Manager Steve Huddleston said it is good to have a positive relationship with the surrounding colleges.

“It’s not only the kids, we get the support staff, the faculty, the administration,” Huddleston said. “We get the benefit from all the athletic programs. We’ve got a great working relationship with Indiana State, Rose Hulman, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods.”

With many students returning to work in the service industry, the start of school could shuffle up some work staffs and schedules.

“It does tend to be a bit of a challenge, because a lot of the employees, if they are a college student once school starts their schedule can change, their availability can change,” Toptsi said. “So, we kind of have to work with that and move some staff around during those times but we always make it work.”

Huddleston said that maintaining good relations with students can lead to retaining lifelong customers.

“You start to establish those relationships when the kids first start,” he said. “You’ve got them for four or five years, it’s pretty neat.”

Indiana State and Saint Mary-of-the-Woods have already begun classes. Rose Hulman will begin classes Sept. 3.

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